by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network
DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to Our Monthly Networking Opportunity!
Come join Keith Anderson, Director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) and other panelists to discuss Mayor Gray’s 2013 Sustainable DC legislation.
– Keith Anderson, Director, District Department of the Environment (DDOE)
– Maisie Hughes, Director, Planning & Design, Casey Trees
– Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (Moderator)
– Other panelists invited. More updates soon.
Our November 7th at Noon discussion will be held at the offices of the DC Environmental Network/Global Green USA, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.
All are welcome.
Background: In early October, the DC environmental community was alerted to the introduction, by Mayor Vincent Gray, of 11 pieces of legislation that are described as “supportive” of his vision to make the District of Columbia, “in one generation,” the “healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States.”
The Mayor’s Proposed Legislation:
JOBS & ECONOMY
The “Aggregate Benchmarking Data Access Act of 2013” and “Benchmarking Data Transfer Improvement Act of 2013” will support the District’s cutting-edge building benchmarking program by making data on energy and water use more accessible to building owners through direct electronic reporting by utilities. They further require transfer of utility records when a property changes ownership to ensure the new owner can track the building’s performance and make informed decisions about the cost of operating a building in addition to the price of the building.
The “Clean and Affordable Energy Public Engagement Enhancement Amendment Act of 2013” will promote greater public engagement in the operation of District energy programs, including the market-driven Sustainable Energy Utility and federally-funded grant programs administered by DDOE to allow comprehensive planning across all programs.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
The “Radon Contractor Proficiency Amendment Act of 2013” will ensure, through new DDOE regulations, that contractors performing radon mitigation services meet professional certification standards to preserve the health and safety of homes in the District.
The “Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion Act of 2013” will provide new, partial tax rebates to vehicle owners who convert a gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle to run on alternative fuels such as compressed or liquefied natural gas, biodiesel, propane, fuel cells or electric power. Encouraging the conversion of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles to lower emission vehicles will help clean the air and provide relief to residents with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
The “Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Incentive Act of 2013” will provide new, partial tax rebates to promote installation of cleaner fuel fueling stations for compressed or liquefied natural gas, propane, or electric recharging when the site is accessible to the public. These incentives will further encourage residents and businesses to switch to cleaner-operating vehicles.
EQUITY & DIVERSITY
The “Transit Benefits Requirement Act of 2013” will reduce the cost of transit for employees across the city by requiring District employers – in medium and larger businesses as defined by regulation – to provide access to transit benefit programs, such as a pre-tax payroll deduction.
The “Environmental Literacy Plan Adoption Amendment Act of 2013” creates a new program and staff within the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to further develop and implement the Environmental Literacy Plan first developed under the Healthy Schools Act. The Environmental Literacy Plan will bring environmental education, including meaningful outdoor experiences, to District youth.
CLIMATE & THE ENVIRONMENT
The “Anacostia Pollution Prevention Act of 2013” would prohibit the sale, use, or provision of polystyrene containers for food services and encourage the use of compostable or recyclable containers. Through regulation, the Mayor would define the range of compostable and recyclable materials that could be used for food services. Reducing the use of polystyrene, which cannot be recycled or composted, will help clean the Anacostia and other waterways of polystyrene trash.
The “Sustainable Urban Agriculture Apiculture Amendment Act of 2013” will allow the Mayor to define through regulations, rather than statute, standards for beekeeping in the District to reflect the needs of local beekeepers and an effective level of agency oversight.
The “Urban Forest Amendment Act of 2013” will increase the quality of the District’s tree canopy by requiring payment to immediately offset the destruction or removal of a tree. This change will allow the District Government to plant replacement trees on public space throughout the city to more rapidly replace lost trees and help achieve the citywide 40% tree canopy goal.
Keith Anderson will give the big picture on the design and intent of these bills. We will then have a discussion and strategy session focused on whether Mayor Vincent Gray can move his vision forward with these particular initiatives and how we might engage in advocacy on them.
All are welcome.